Losing feathers and change in personality


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 7, 2013
I hope someone out that has some information. We recently found one of our Brahma hens rolling around in the dirt. This isn't anything unusual except that we notice that the hole she dug was lined with feathers and the rest of our brood were standing around the hole watching her. We went in to investigate and as we were holding her and stroking her feathers, they were just falling out. We inspected her skin and noticed that the skin was intact, not red or whelted, and there were signs of new feathers growing in. We decided to keep an eye on her and see what happens.

Over the next few days, we didn't notice anything different. Her feathers were still falling out but not as bad as that first day. Today, however, we noticed that she kept a fair distance away from the rest of the brood, always by herself. When I fed them some scratch, normally all the chickens would flock to me and peck but she remained far away from the rest. When I offered her scratch by hand, she pecked timidly (usually they will eat like the food is running out) and then walked away. I even held her and she wouldn't eat. When I put the scratch in front of her on the ground, she timidly pecked at it a couple of times and then walked away.

I thought maybe she was moulting at first but this new behaviour and change in her personality has me a bit worried. Is there anything else I should consider or is this sudden change all a part of the moulting process?

Thanks for any recommendations.


6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
Sounds like she doesn't want the scratch; it's normal for their dietary needs to change somewhat regularly. If she's still eating other foods normally I wouldn't worry.

There's a chance that if the scratch is whole corn, she may have a blockage internally and is avoiding large pieces because of that; sometimes they can have a partial occlusion for a long time before it becomes a clinical case of crop or gizzard (or whatever) binding.

Best wishes.


10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
California, central valley
Molting is a stressful and uncomfortable time for chickens and it's common for them to get a little quieter or withdrawn when going through a heavy molt. Good nutrition and some added protein is a good idea during this time. Try offering her some dried meal worms or some mashed, hard boiled egg and see if she's interested.

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